Electricity is also called a ‘power supply.’ It can bring light, heat, technology and other sources to one’s home, place of business or to vacation areas. Though a necessity in today’s world, it is still a luxury in other countries. Craig Botetourt is one company that provides this great service to the community.
Craig Botetourt Electric Cooperative CBEC hosted its 82nd annual meeting on Saturday, June 1. Their stated mission is “Each member/owner will be provided with the benefit of safe, reliable electric service at the lowest possible cost consistent with sound management and the Cooperative principles.”
More than 100 people poured into the back lot of the business, and they were greeted with welcomes, a door prize ticket and a light bulb as a gift.
While The Luv Buzzards provided live music from the stage area, hot dogs and Homestead Creamery Ice Cream were served in abundance.
The meeting started with an invocation by Pastor Bill Frazier. After that, the Pledge of Allegiance and the business meeting began, including the approval of the minutes and the election of Board Member officers from District 1-Monroe County WV, Alleghany and Giles County and District 2- Craig and Roanoke Counties and District 3 – Botetourt and Montgomery.
Members of the Board currently consist of: President Jasper Persinger, Jr. (District 1), Vice President J.C. Winstead (District 2), Secretary and Treasurer Frank Garman, Jr (District 2)., Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Sam Clemons (District 1), Jr., Director James Huffman (District 3) and Director Patrick Ryan (District 3).
Persinger announced that he had made a suggestion at one of the Board meetings on how to increase the attendance of the annual meeting by suggesting, “Let’s turn their electricity off.” He added that he did not get a second on the motion.
Much business was attended to and employees were introduced and thanked for their service.
President Jasper Persinger announced that he was going to run for the President of the United States. “Everybody else is… why not me? I’ve decided to ask Frankie Garman Sr. to be my Vice President and his wife will be our secretary. Frank, it’s going to look nice to see our picture across the country on the billboards,” he said before adding that he heard he needed to have an attention getter which brought much laughter.
Persinger announced that as the CBEC President, it was his honor to give the updates from the Board of Directors which included various topics
•Employee safety as a top priority
•Retiring $460,000 in capital credits; one of the largest in 83-year history.
•Through a feasibility study, evaluated the installation of fiber in the Co-op service territory to provide better communications and ensure efficient electric to be used by internet services to areas unable to obtain service.
•Continue to attend educational training to keep updated on the electrical industry.
“Your cooperative will work as diligently as possible to serve you in the future,” he added.
Frank Garman Jr. noted that the Cooperative had a successful year in 2018. “The high quality of service provided by CBEC would not be possible without the dedicated effort of the Co-Op staff. The Board and staff would like to thank the employees for a job well done,” he said.
•At year-end, there were 7,648 service connections in place and 7,237 active accounts on the books.
•There are 1,392 miles of line (1,161 is overhead and 231 underground distribution).
•They sold $12,927,666 in electricity in 2018 compared to $11,901,293 the previous year.
•Average outage time was 24.64 hours, an increase over last year of 15.27 hours per consumer.
CEO Shawn Hildebrand also spoke about a variety of subjects.
•On Safety. “These young men have dangerous jobs. They are out there for us in rain, sleet and snow,” he said. “Can you imagine being on top of one of these mountains, with not a stick of electricity around you, trying to get your service back on?”
•On the right of way. “We have now subcontracted with a company to talk to our members before we come through. We feel this is a way to improve customer service and to talk to the member instead of just coming on their properties and cutting their trees, creating a dialogue of how to best serve them.” He noted that the year brought over 60 inches of rainfall, creating a weak ground. Adding, that other Co-ops have come in to help.
•On development of long and short-term work plans. “We are taking an overview of the entire system to see what improvements can be made in the future to enhance member service,” he said. They will be spending 25 percent (ten million dollars) for improvements.
•Adding a substation in Ironto will cut down the exposure from 25 miles to 10 miles.
•On the fiber pilot project. “The key reason for us to get into fiber is to provide better communications to those in the mountains. In turn, it will also make cell phone service more available to others. We will not provide the service but the fiber. Broadband is more of a necessity today. Historically, our system has been stagnant at best. We have not grown. Appliances are becoming more efficient, so we have to bring more people into the area. It is about a $2 million-dollar project with half the funds coming from the state and the county and other half from the cooperative.”
Several employees were recognized of their years of service: Donna Carper (five), Josh Oulette (five), Greg Huffman (25) and Sam Clemons (50). All were given a pin and a plaque. Clemons was presented with a resolution of appreciation.
Said Clemmons, “I want to take this opportunity to say thank you and I sincerely mean that. When I say I have meant some of the finest people I’ve ever known in my life as a result of being on the Board of this Co-op, it’s the god’s honest truth. It’s been a great honor.”
The Co-op gave away several gift credits to electric bills, ranging from $25 to $100. William Crawford from Bradshaw won the $250 proxy prize winner.
Scholarships were given to three students, including the 2019 Craig County High School Valedictorian, Caleb Todd.
In closing, Hildebrand noted that when he thought about the organization and the employees at CBEC, the world resilient came to mind. He spoke of the loss of two employees. “After these losses happened, our staff grew closer,” he said. “We thank you for allowing us to serve you and giving us this opportunity and know that we will always be there for you and we take it very seriously in serving our members.”